Cambrian: Sports

‘Dead period’ is anything but for Coast Union student-athletes

Cameron MacTavish pumps iron while Reagan Kniffen assists during volunteer volleyball workouts Monday.
Cameron MacTavish pumps iron while Reagan Kniffen assists during volunteer volleyball workouts Monday. Special to The Cambrian

Notwithstanding that Monday was the start of the third and last week of the CIF-mandated “summer dead period” for student athletics in California, scenes of lively activity were evident around Coast Union High School.

The CIF rules prohibit high school teams from practicing with their coaches for three weeks in the summer. For Coast Union, that period ends Monday, Aug. 11.

Meanwhile, several Bronco football players showed up to toss the ball around before heading to the weight room, and the volleyball team, after pumping iron, ran sprints to get in cardio shape for the fall season.

Longtime varsity basketball coach and English literature teacher Tim May volunteers to supervise weight room activities and explains that for the girls on the volleyball team, weight training is a key to their flexibility and endurance.

However, he adds, “It’s a process with girls because they think they’re going to get big muscles when they lift weights. But even if they lift heavier weights as they go along, they’re not going to get big muscles. It’s just not going to happen for them.

“But they do strengthen their shoulders and arms — and tomorrow we’ll work on strengthening legs. We’ll do squats weighing between 95 pounds to 115 pounds,” May explained.

After the girls finish weight training, May has them in the gym running sprints. “I’m a believer in sprinting. I’m not a big fan of long runs. Short runs develop the anaerobic part of fitness. Short bursts prepare their hearts for the season.”

Junior football players Alexis Mirales and Lane Sutherland are expected to share time at quarterback for the Broncos’ eight-man team. On Monday they fired some spirals to their receivers and talked about the upcoming season.

As participants in voluntary workouts, Sutherland, who led the team last season with 1,390 yards rushing, said the receivers in the dead period mainly work on “running the routes and making the cuts, and the quarterbacks practice hitting those receivers. But we’re really just having fun,” he added.

Mirales, who steps into the shoes of last year’s talented quarterback, Angel Avina (who threw for 2,066 yards and ran for 1,259), said, “I feel pretty comfortable. I know the plays and the receivers. The passing game’s going to be pretty good this year.”

James Welch, a junior fullback, looks forward to a lot of playing time this season. He’s aware that the competition will be different now that the CIF has removed the football team from the Condor League and repositioned it in the Coast Valley League (where most other Coast teams compete).

Hence, instead of facing last season’s brutal challenges — highly competitive private schools such as Cate, Thatcher, Dunn and Laguna Blanca — the Broncos will line up against smaller schools like Cuyama Valley, Shandon and Valley Christian.

“No matter who we play, we’re always going to prepare to play the best we can, no matter how good our opponents are,” Welch made clear.

Fresno Christian is the first opponent for Welch and his teammates when they kick off the season Sept. 5.